Home > tasks > Task 5: From interaction to interactivity, from sociology to informatics

Task 5: From interaction to interactivity, from sociology to informatics

Now it is about time to move on from the first phase of our journey to the next one. As the first phase focused on exploring and analysing human activities with instruments at hand, the next phase is going emphasise on a more systematic and theory-based approach for representing human activities, interactions and systems. The purpose of the second phase  is to elaborate our knowledge about human activities and interactions as well as ways of representing them by doing some literature review on related concepts.

Looking back at your previous activity descriptions and our joint jam session, the concepts “interactivity” and “interaction” didn’t show up at all. However, as interactivity is one of the keywords in this course we should start exploring of what the term “interactivity” is used for and how this concept can be beneficial for our approach.

Before we get into this messy literature, one must acknowledge that interactivity is a multi-discursive concept. There are thousands of articles out there, which try to analyse this elusive concept and come up with some clarifications in different fields (such as advertising, marketing, communication, information science, computer science, education, etc.). The list of articles we are going to study is just a tiny fraction of it. Thus, feel free to find additional articles to study and don’t forget to share your findings with others.

We would like to start our literature review with the following article:

Jensen, J.F. (1998). Interactivity: tracking a new concept in media and communication studies. Nordicom Review, 19(1), 185-204. Available at: http:// www.nordicom.gu.se/ reviewcontents/ ncomreview/ ncomreview198/ jensen.pdf

Have a look at the article, think about the concept of “interactivity” and put out a Weblog post summarizing its main message (300-500 words). Make sure that the title of your post starts with “Task 5″.

The deadline for task 5 is: Tuesday, October 26th, 24:00 (Estonian time).

Categories: tasks
  1. Taavi Lindmaa
    October 25, 2010 at 14:33


    I don´t want to be nagging but isn´t it bit cruel to move the deadline of the task to another day.
    As so far we have had assignment deadlines on thursday and this is kind of programmed in our minds to take reserve time for New Interactive Media either on wednesdays or thursdays, if possible earlier.

    How are we supposed to plane out tight schedules if the tasks are announced so shortly before deadline? If i remember correctly there was an option for feedbacks of the lecturers if the assignments are posted few days before the deadline. How could I have this option if I see the task less than 2 day before deadline?

    I really hope it would be possible to announce the tasks a week in advance. I´m sure than the outcomes of the tasks could be more relevant.

    Thanks & regards,

    • October 26, 2010 at 20:21

      Hello Taavi,

      I don’t think that anyone said that we would “always” put the deadline for every possible task on Thursdays. 🙂

      Regarding your planning needs:
      Reading a single article and writing up 300 words takes what? … 2 hours? maybe 3?

      My understanding is that you should consider about 10-11 work hours per week for this course. Which translates to … about 2 hours per work day.
      So, putting this all into consideration… I don’t think Terje has set an unreasonable task here, or has she?



  2. October 26, 2010 at 18:36

    Seriously, please consider that we have other things in our life besides the course. We have work, family and private life that is scheduled long before these course tasks, as we all live a very tightly scheduled life with a number of duties.

    This is not the only course we are taking, some of us have school -every single day- that you have decided to book for us without giving us a choice. We cannot simply prioritize this courses tasks literally in a moments notice, especially if it is about writing a review for a paper that requires some effort. This is not about ‘simulating actual work environment’, in my work environment things are much better managed and planned beforehand, because without this we would have chaos and low morale.

    Some of us take this course seriously, it would be great if you would give us a chance not to ‘cook things up’ in five minutes without being ready for it. This is not only about our time, it is also about the quality and effort of our end result in the scope of this course.

    With bad input you will end up with bad output and who needs that?

    • October 26, 2010 at 20:55

      Hello Kristo,

      let me assure you that I fully expect you to have other things in your life besides this course. I also have a busy life with a number of duties… which will hadly surprise you.

      To be honest, I don’t understand the following statement:
      “some of us have school -every single day- that you have decided to book for us without giving us a choice”
      Maybe you can explain that to me… if you find the time.

      Considering the fact that NIIE2010 is an elective course that runs through the whole semester, that carries a workload of 10-11 hours per week (2 hours per day),… Terje’s deadline doesn’t look so outlandish to me, or does it?

      As I have stated above in my comment to Taavi, the task should not really take you more than 2 hours.

      Regarding your comment about your work environment:
      Are you trying to tell me that every 2 hour task is scheduled more than a week ahead?
      That is truly not the condition I spent my worklife in.

      I sure hope that some of you are taking the course seriously. It is not a text-book approach. Which should be clear by now. It is supposed to be a shared exploration of a pretty messy conceptual space. So, please, don’t expect this to be run on a “school” scheme… with everything outlined in detail for weeks to come.

      Look… the deadlines are supposed to structure a (minimal) engagement (technologically mediate as it is) for all of us, including Terje and me. I am afraid that putting a few hours here and there will be required for all of us.

      And from my perspective, 2-3 hours within 2 workdays is not too much to ask for, or is it?



      • October 26, 2010 at 21:05

        What I meant was that we actually had one of the courses being wrapped up after work Monday and Tuesday evening, with final project presentation as well as a seminar, the evenings you expected us to work on both absorbing and writing about the white paper. Since we were notified of this date so very late, our schedules were already booked for other lectures.

        We need to plan for our studies and every moment where you plan for us instead, with such a short notice, is a problem. I can assure you that this has kept us all on edge for reasons completely unrelated to the course materials and I am sure this is evident from our feedback.

        In most (if not all) courses, there is a specific schedule of things exactly for this reason, so that students can be prepared and know what to expect. And no, we do not have 2 hours for you every single day. We set aside entire evenings (or weekends) to minimize the amount of multitasking that is required of us. We cannot be ready for you 24/7 just in case you decide to shock-therapy us again with a surprise deadline.

        If a course becomes more about us arguing about dates and less about us actually learning something here, that is a problem. We all want to get the most out of this lecture.

        This simply means that please give us a chance to do so.

  3. October 26, 2010 at 21:52


    I simply cannot evaluate your overall workload or schedule (nor can you do this on my side).

    We have said clearly that you can let us know if you have serious problems with a particular deadline. So, no need to get all worked up if there is an unfortunate collision with (if I understand you correctly) a spike of activity that is “demanded” in some other course context.

    Hey, we both know that we are far away from asking you to work 2 hours “every single day”… Right? 😉

    We simply want to read and process some literature together over next few weeks.
    So, reading a few papers per week is a necessary investment. I cannot help you with this one. You still have to make time to do that.

    And… I should say, yes, I do want a bit of a “flow” … instead of a bit of ping-pong once a week.
    Will this be less smooth and predictable… yeah, most likely?
    Will we find a way to make this work regardless… I sure think so.

    So, next time you see that there is some serious scheduling problem.
    By all means get in touch.
    I just want to ask you the favour of reporting in a “matter of fact” kind of way… instead of a “oh,.. we are all so busy people…with such a complex life…” kind of speech. Ok? This song is too easy to sing in our days. You know what I mean? 😉

    (hey… here I am in the middle of the night answering your comments…
    just kidding!)

    take care,


  4. Marek
    October 27, 2010 at 06:37

    I’ll say a few words, if I may. The problem is not the amount of work, nor the nature of it. The problem is bad planning. A 24 hour notice is not acceptable by any sane person. Students have to be presented a list of tasks and a course schedule when the course begins. Making things up as we go, is not common. At all.

    A lot of us are working professionals, some of us have families and kids. Some of us live abroad. I dare say you yourself are not able to provide quality feedback within such a short timeframe. Having 5+ years of project management experience (mostly IT and EU related), I dare say no professional would disagree with me.

    As I can see, you are able to put word after word and make it sound logical, but that does not mean that people expect the course to be well-structured and well-organized. No disrespect intended, but I assume you expect honest feedback.

  5. Marek
    October 27, 2010 at 06:38

    *that does not mean that people don’t expect …

  6. Kairi
    October 27, 2010 at 09:23

    Hey guys,

    Happened to read this conversation here and just wanted to add that we sure should spend some time on every course we have selected (whether it’s 2 hours each day or 10 hours a week), so there I agree with Sebastian. Although, I too am freaking out (unfortunately) with 2 jobs and full time studies (which, of course, is my own choice – at least what concerns studies) and I’m already sad I’m more like running over this whole thing, rather than being able to explore in depth and details.

    Where I very much agree with Kristo is the schedule and knowing in advance type of time planning. I’m finding it a bit hard to make sense of the NIE “flow” and what I’m expected to learn and do here. I very much like one of our other courses with a clear set up, topics and deadlines known for the entire semester: http://beta.wikiversity.org/wiki/Ethics_and_Law_in_New_Media And for this reason, it’s probably the course that has taught me most so far and that I’m most looking forward to engaging in every week.

    Anyways, hope you both have a nice day! The sun is out!

    Till Sunday’s deadline,

  7. Maibritt
    October 27, 2010 at 18:21

    I agree with Kairi – there is no clear vision of when the tasks are going to “pop out” or when they are going to end. I am not expected to sit behind computer every day and wait whether there is a post coming from NIE facilitators or not, but right now I am feeling that you cannot miss a day, because every minute a 2-day task may pop out which in case of looking 2 days later will be “lost points”.
    Each one of us would love to concentrate on the tasks thoroughly, but right now there is too much dissatisfaction. Something can be done about the problem, can’t it?

  8. Elise
    October 27, 2010 at 23:24

    I would also like to step in to say that I am totally for the course and agree on the requirements 10-12 hours per week. But…
    I have experience in taking similar online subjects before, and I have to admit that it was really good to be able to see tasks beforehand and schedule my time. I am already behind with this subject. My hardest course last year was online course – it really took me up to 10 hours per week to manage the tasks given, but I could do them either every day couple of hours or during 1 night when I had really quick weeks. I understand completely that it sounds like we are nagging – we are not saying that the tasks are hard, but all we want to ask is to give us longer notice on the things we have to do. I would be glad to to be able to plan 2-3 weeks ahead of my time (yes, even 2 hours are sometimes hard to find with 2 days notice). And I think that others would also agree on that.
    I can understand that it seems to you that 2 hours per 2 days would be ok to spend on the task, but when you announce it on Sunday, then you don’t leave much time to plan anything in here.
    I think that you as teachers actually also want students to succeed on the course and it would be pity if the reason why half fail is they weren’t able to manage tasks with short notice.



  1. October 26, 2010 at 09:00
  2. October 26, 2010 at 21:04

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